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  • Sun May 20 2007
  • Posted May 20, 2007
Sen. Tom Harkin Backs Cancer Screening, Treatment, Survivorship Act By Jenny Nowatzke WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 17, 2007 "Live strong! Live strong! Live strong!" The message was heard loud and clear on Wednesday afternoon as 200 cancer survivors and advocates rallied in Washington to show their support for the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007. Joined by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky, North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, they all met to ask Congress to pass a new legislation, which would allow access to early cancer detection and treatment and provide survivorship resources for those living with the disease. "We have to begin looking at cancer survivorship as a chronic disease in this country, and we have to provide the support to make that chronic diseases less of an impact on survivor's daily lives, and that's what this bill will do," Harkin said. Four of his siblings lost their lives to cancer, so the issue hits home for Harkin. "With better detection and screenings, perhaps my siblings would have had a better outcome. We must expand access to lifesaving services," he said. Twelve cancer survivors from Iowa all shared their life-changing stories about cancer survival. "I am here to fight for my 7-year-old son, Jack, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. I am asking Congress to give a $136.6 million increase for cancer research," said Jennifer Hoeger, who lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "My son fought for his life medically, and I will fight for it financially." Dawn Carlson, from Jonesville, Iowa, said she shares a connection with Hoeger in that her son also fought and won a battle with cancer. "Last year on March 7, my 7-month-old son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Luckily, he was able to receive a clinical trial, but because of recent cuts in the budget, there's a threat that clinical trials will be reduced, and I hate the thought of someone not being able to get the treatment that they need," she said. Jacob Scaefer, from Waterloo, Iowa, echoed the concerns of Carlson. He said he is a 23-year leukemia survivor who was diagnosed with the disease the summer before he entered kindergarten in 1984. "I went through heavy chemo, radiation, went through remission, and never looked back –- but I have lots of friends who weren't so lucky, and I feel so strongly about getting better funding for better treatments," he said. The Iowans also got the chance to meet Lance Armstrong at the ESPN Zone Restaurant on Tuesday night, and they championed Armstrong's efforts to raise awareness about cancer treatment through his LiveStrong campaign. "LiveStrong is more than just a slogan for those effected by cancer -- you need to live each day, moment by moment, and live strong whether you are a cancer survivor or not," Carlson said. "Live strong each day -- it's a way of life." If passed, the Cancer Screening, Treatment and Survivorship Act of 2007 will allow new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administered state-based cancer screening programs, and it will help provide medical assistance and treatment through Medicaid.

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